Four years on, no sign of 6th Punjab pay commission report
The Capt Amarinder Singh-led Congress government in Punjab has announced their 3% dearness allowance ahead of Diwali, but there is still no sign of report of the Sixth Punjab Pay Commission for 7.5 lakh government employees and pensioners. The three-member pay commission, announced in November 2015, is not willing to give the time-frame within which it would give its recommendations to the state government. “Employees’ unions and organisations which submitted their representations have been heard. We are now looking at information critically, and more issues are cropping up,” pay commission chairman and former chief secretary Jai Singh Gill told HT on Monday.
Gill said each department was being discussed and there were policy issues that need to be decided before the recommendations for pay revision could be finalised. The panel had got over 650 representations from unions and associations of government employees and pensioners regarding pay, pension, allowances and anomalies in salary structure, etc. The inordinate delay in implementation of the new pay scales, increase in allowance and pension revision, coupled with delay in payment of dearness arrears, has riled employees and pensioners, who have started staging protests.
Sanjha Mulazam Manch convener Sukhchain Singh Khehra, who is also president of Punjab Civil Secretariat Employees Association, said the Congress made a promise in its poll manifesto to implement the pay commission but had done nothing yet.
“There is deferment at every stage. DA instalments of 15% have also been pending and the Centre has announced DA hike of another 5% for its employees, whereas all that the state is willing to give is just 3% DA hike that has been pending since January 2018,” he said.
Fund crunch, lack of
support from Centre
While the state government is drawing flak from the opposition and within the ruling party for delay, it blames fund crunch and lack of financial support from the centre for the delay. On the growing impatience among government employees and pensioners, Gill said he understood their anxiety, but the commission needed to study all aspects before giving its report.
The previous Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (SAD-BJP) government had set up the three-member panel under former chief secretary RS Mann. It invited representations from government staff and their associations and received 450 of them. In March 2017, the Congress came to power and Mann immediately put in his papers, citing “personal reasons”. The present government appointed Gill, a 1968-batch IAS officer who superannuated in 2006, in his place in April 2017. In January 2019, chief secretary Karan Avtar Singh had extended the term of the pay commission up to December 31.
Sanjha Morcha leaders
meet FM, talks inconclusive
Talks between finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal and top leaders of the Sanjha Mulazam Morcha on payment of DA arrears, new pay scales and other demands remained inconclusive on Monday. Manch convener Sukhchain Singh Khehra said nothing positive came out of the meeting with the finance minister as the minister expressed his inability to accept demands related to pending DA arrears and revision of pay scales due to fund crunch. “The FM blamed non-release of the state’s share in goods and services tax (GST) amounting to ₹2,000 crore by the Centre for the present situation,” he said after the meeting.
Khehra said though the minister was hopeful that the pay commission would submit its recommendations by December 31, he declined to give any assurance in writing. Manpreet did not respond to calls.
Despite promise, Congress government still to revise pay scales and pension of 3.5 lakh state govt employees and 4 lakh pensioners